An appearance by Julia Hartley-Brewer on ITV’s This Morning on 15 April resulted in 203 complaints being made to Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator. Her sin was to make fun of Meghan Merkle, the Duchess of Sussex. (You can read about the brouhaha in the Mail.) The Free Speech Union wrote to the Chief Executive of Ofcom, pointing out that what she said was not a breach of the Broadcasting Code:
Even if the comment could be deemed offensive in accordance with section 2.3, the context clearly did justify it. Ms Hartley-Brewer was referring to an ongoing controversy about the veracity of the Duchess’s claims about racism within the Royal Family – claims which potentially affect the Queen’s standing as head of state and head of the Commonwealth. As you will be aware, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which Ofcom must act in accordance with, grants a wide freedom to discuss matters of public interest and controversy, and especially so for journalists and broadcasters such as Ms Hartley-Brewer.
You can read the letter in full below.
Stop Press: Ofcom replied to us on 26 April to tell us that it has decided not to investigate the matter any further.